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Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Car issues, A Grammy Sprinkle, Catching Up with Friends, and A Recipe

When I left you last, I had just made some delicious mini cream horns and Dan, who had been in Ireland since the 2nd of January, was set to return home on the 12th.  Well, guess what?  He STILL isn't home yet! (Side note - several of you had never heard of cream horns and I was floored!!!!!)

Multiple issues with his program caused his trip to be extended, and extended, and extended one final time.  He was scheduled to arrive in Raleigh around 3:00 this afternoon but this morning his flight out of Dublin was cancelled and he got rebooked (thankfully) and will now be arriving in Raleigh around 9:00 tonight.  So, fingers crossed, he will be back home a little before midnight.  

There's a lot going on around here and at the same time, not much so let's see what I can find to update you all with. 

I am behind at work so I've been working extra to get caught up.  And honestly, since Dan's been gone, that's not a bad thing. 

I did not have to work last Saturday so I was able to have lunch with Jennifer.  It was great catching up with her and lunch was delicious too! We ate at Midtown Cafe and Dessertery.  Google informed me that it had been 9 years since I had been there. Isn't that funny?

Last Monday, I had lunch with another old friend from my Our Lady of Mercy days.  It was so great to catch up with Denise too. Denise was a parent at OLM but also served as the track coach and I was her trusty assistant.  Her son, who is a senior this year, will be attending Duke next year on a track scholarship!  How cool is that?

And then last Wednesday, I met with my Care Group, and we showered our sweet friend Kendra with a Grammy Sprinkle.  Her daughter is having a baby next month and we wanted to show the first Grandma in our group a little extra love.  Kim hosted and she had a Tea Party theme complete with tea party foods and a tea party themed game of Bingo. (Because no baby shower is complete without games!) Kim, being the ever thoughtful hostess and party planner extraordinaire, even had prizes. And all of the things we gifted Kendra with were things she could use at her home when baby visits.

It is so crazy to me that think that when we all joined MOPS (Mothers Of PreSchoolers) in 2006 we would still be meeting regularly all these years later and would be celebrating a GRAND BABY!!!!

I am so thankful for these 5 ladies and I could not imagine doing life without them. Collectively, we have been through A LOT together. 

In less exciting news, Dan and I have been in a battle with Hyundai - okay "battle" is probably too strong to use but that's what I'm going with.

We bought Sarah a 2020 Elantra in June of 2020.  It had 1000 miles on it and we got a very good deal.  However, this car has been plagued with problems.  Several months after buying it, Sarah started it one morning and four warning lights came on and it would not allow her to put the car in drive.  She waited for a few minutes and the warning lights turned off and she was able to drive.  

This issue contnued to happen randomly.  After multiple attempts to take it in and have it repaired, they finally thought they fixed it only for it to be fine for a couple of months and then boom - it happened again.  Meanwhile, the engine had to be replaced which thankfully this (and every other repair) was covered by Hyunda. The engine repair was done at a dealership near Sarah's school and while they had it, they also  tried to repair the warning light/not being able to drive issue.  They did the same repair the previous dealership had done and once again thought it was fixed only to have it happen AGAIN!

So, in November Dan and I went to the dealership to talk to the service manager and he basically told us (in not so many words) you probably have a lemon and gave us information on how to get it resolved with corporate.  

We called Hyundai and told them we wanted them to buy our car back from us and they opened a case.  However, a few days later we were told they couldn't do anything for us because they only buy back cars in a 3 year window and we had had the car for 3 and half years at this point.

Our next step was to contact the Better Business Bureau.  We've opened up a case with them. This involved submitted all of our records detailing times in the shop, issues with the car, etc.  Hyundai offered us $500 to which we said, "No thanks!"

Earlier this month, we sent them a Final Repair letter (which was the next step  according to the BBB and North Carolina's Lemon Law). They received the certified letter and have requested a Final Repair.  We are waiting to hear back from them on getting this scheduled.

I can't imagine that another repair will fix this issue but I would love it if that happened because I'm not sure what Hyundai will do after that.  If they don't fix this according to our liking, I believe the next step is arbitration. 

All this to say - DO NOT PURCHASE A HYUNDAI.  And if you have one, I'm sorry.  I hope it's behaving better than ours.  (Also please note - the paint on the hood is bubbling up and coming off. This is a known defect that happened on several years worth of Hyundai's and of course ours was one of them!)

On a happier note, my sweet Sarah has joined a sorority this semester!  Her college experience so far hasn't been what she wanted it to be so she decided to take matters into her own hands and jumped into Greek life!  She is now a Delta Zeta! Well, I guess technically she isn't a full DZ yet. That won't happen until the spring but she is so happy meeting new people and having a full social calendar.

Both kids are currently applying for internships for the summer.  I hope and pray they can each find the perfect one! Peter attending the NC State - Miami game last night and sent this picture:

Thankfully they won last night and ended a 3 game losing streak!

Last year, (also when Dan was traveling), I watched season one of Love of the Spectrum. Last week they released season 2 and I watched it.  I really enjoyed it. If you like the romance type shows, I highly recommend it.  But definitely start at season 1.  Season 2 brought back some old characters as well as some new ones.  

I also started watching this season of the Bachelor.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  I tried to watch the Golden Bachelor but just couldn't get into it and I haven't watched for several seasons prior to that.  I'm getting burned out on real crime TV, though, and need something to watch when Dan is gone.   

Before I end this  "all over the place" post, I wanted to share with you my dinner for the last two nights.

Salmon and arugula salad!

I covered the salmon in Dijon mustard and a bunch of Citrus Garlic seasoning from Trader Joe's and popped it into the air fryer for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  

And the salad is just arugula with shaved Parmesan cheese with a homemade vinaigrette dressing.

Greed Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup EVOO
  • 1 T. dried oregano
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of lemon juice (taste and adjust to your liking)
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves pressed

Add all ingredients into a mason jar and shake well and enjoy.

The Dijon serves to keeps the salmon moist.  I didn't really taste it when eating the salmon which is fine because sometimes Dijon can be over powering.  And the key to the simple arugula salad is the shaved Parmesan.  Get a block of Parm and use your vegetable peeler and get some nice strips of cheese on that salad.  The more the better and enjoy!

What have you all been enjoying on TV lately?  Do tell as Dan will probably only be home for a week or two before he's off again.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Lady Locks Recipe (aka Mini Cream Horns)

I love cream horns.  Love. Them.  And Sarah has inherited my love for them.  

One time at work in the late 90s, a co-worker popped her head into my cubicle and said, "There's cream horns in the break room!" (After customer meetings, the admins would always put any leftover food in the break room for any one to take. It was a high light of sitting near the break room.

I shot up from my chair, flew out of my cubicle and into the break room at record speed shouting, "There's cream horns in the break room! There's cream horns in the break room!" I gobbled up that cream horn so fast I left  a cloud of powdered sugar in that break room.

So imagine my excitement this past December when I was perusing the leftover cookies from the cookie platter we made for the owner at work and discovered miniature cream horns  among the Oreo balls, jam cutouts, buckeyes, and gorgeous(if I do say so myself) chocolate peppermint thumbprints.

This is the platter of leftovers so you can imagine the beauty of the platter that was given to the owner!

Do you spy the petite cream horns?  My eyes were immediately drawn to them and I had to have one.  Okay...I had two.  It was all I could do not to eat every single one of them.  And I could have done it to because no one else was in the break room at the time. I didn't want to be a pig - but man, they were delicious!

I asked around and found out who made them and then promptly requested the recipe.  Turns out they are called Lady Locks and are a staple on wedding cookie tables.  The woman that made them made a ton of them for her son's wedding cookie table. (He was married in Chicago so maybe it's a thing up there.  I've never seen it here in NC but it's been a while since I've been to a wedding so maybe it's a thing now? A quick google search just informed me that cookie tables are big at Pittsburgh weddings.)

The day after she sent me the recipe, I saw her at work and thanked her for sending it to me and she said, "I was embarrassed to send it to you since it calls for Crisco."  I laughed and said, "I'm from the South!  I'm not afraid of Crisco - I was raised on it!"

Sarah and I finally had a chance to make them this past weekend and they were so delicious and not hard to make at all.  

You can buy "forms" but I went the cheap route and used wooden clothes pins covered in tin foil. Wrapping the clothes pins in tin foil was the hardest part of this recipe.  

This is the dough after I rolled it out. I then cut long thin stirps using a pizza cutter. I then wrapped the strips around the foil covered clothes pins. (Make sure to use old fashioned clothes pins without springs.)

Here's the first batch of dough going in the oven.

 And here's the beautiful finished product:

Don't you hate it when you've googled a recipe and you have to scroll  waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy down through a boring blog post to get to it?  Me too!  And yet, I've done that to you all.  :)

So without further ado....

Lady Locks (Mini Cream Horns)

For the horns:

1 box Pillsbury Puff Pastry thawed.

  • Take 1/3 of a sheet of pastry and roll out  to 15x6 inches.
  • Take pizza cutter and cut long thin strips.
  • Wrap each strip around a clothes pin covered in tin foil.  (I did not flour or spray these and for the most part they came off the form with no problem.  I might spray them with cooking spray next time.)
  • Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes. (The recipe I was given says this but I left them in for closer to 14 minutes. I wanted them to have a little color.)
  • Let cool before removing the horns from the forms.

For the filling:

2 pounds Powdered Sugar
1 cup Crisco
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk
1 7oz jar of Fluff
  • Mix first 5 ingredients in mixer for 10 minutes.  
  • Then add in the fluff and mix until smooth.
  • Use a piping bag to fill the horns with the filling and then try not to eat every last one of them by yourself. ahem... 

Side note:  I cut the filling recipe in half and there was plenty of filling for two sheets (one box) of puff pastry. 

These are the perfect bite.  The dough to filling ratio is spot on. If you like cream horns, you need to give these little cuties a try!

Friday, January 5, 2024

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year! All the things...

And just like that - it's January!

December went by pretty fast for me.  Sarah was home from school on the 4th. She had a paper to submit and an online exam due at the end of that week but they could be turned in/taken from home so that was nice.  

Dan headed to Ireland on December 11th but flew out of Raleigh so he was able to have lunch with Peter after he finished his last exam.  I was glad he got to see both kids before his trip since his time with them over their break was going to be minimal.

I worked 4 days a week while the kids were home and other than sleeping in and hanging out with friends, I'm not exactly sure what they did but they kept busy.

Dan came home from Ireland on December 22nd.  He kept threatening that he might not make it home until the 24th so the fact that he was home on the night of the 22nd was wonderful.

Thanks to online shopping, I was ready for Christmas.  I would estimate that I did roughly 85% of my shopping online and the other 15% was done at my work!  (Thank goodness for my employee discount!) 

We did our traditional Christmas Eve service at the Moravian Church I attended growing up.  (My mom and brother still go there.)  It's always such a beautiful service and this year was no different. Sarah's boyfriend Joe went with us and Jennifer's family joined us as well.

Afterwards, we came back here for party foods and festive drinks.  We had a great time and as usual, I have zero pictures from the night.  Next time we are together, I should just tell the kids to take a bunch of pictures and see what they come back with. 

Dan and I were up early on Christmas morning.  Well, it felt early since we were up late on Christmas Eve, but we were up by 8:00.  We put out all the gifts and filled all the stockings and got the kids up at 8:30.  We made coffee and got to unwrapping!  


We always unload the stockings first - that's our favorite part!  And then we do the other gifts.  Unwrapping all the smaller unknown gifts in the stocking is always fun.  There are always a mix of useful and fun.  I thinking shopping for the stocking stuffers is my favorite thing too!


After gifts we got dressed and headed to Christmas Mass where we met Cathy (Dan's sister) who had just driven down with her partner Eric from Delaware.

After Mass we went to  mom's house for a delicious lunch and more presents. We also took our annual Tesh Family photo.  That's the picture that we've been taking since 1997.  It's always in the same spot and whoever is with us for the meal at Christmas is in the photo.  I love that I accidentally started a tradition in 1997 when I got a new camera with a timer and we are still doing it!  

A full lunch table needs to be documented.
My beautiful mom!


My mom puts together the best gift baskets!

The annual photo!

After celebrating with mom and Brad, we came back here and unwrapped presents with Cathy and Eric and called Dan's brother Dick and his family and then called Dan's uncle. I made turkey and cranberry quesadillas which were actually quite yummy and then we settled down to watch Home Alone.  Dan and the kids had never seen it and I hadn't seen it since 1990 so it was practically like seeing it for the first time. 

The next morning we got up and ate breakfast and then piled in the car and headed to Asheville. It's a 2 and a half hour drive.  Normally its a nice drive but it was pouring rain the entire time.  It stopped raining when we got there though and we had a delicious lunch at Pack's Tavern. (We've been there several times before and it's always good.)

After lunch we headed to The Grove Park Inn to check out all the entries in the National Gingerbread Competition.  The resort was beautiful and there were some really lovely gingerbread creations.  

View from the resort.  The sun actually tried to come out for a second.

These are just a few of the top entries in the competition. My photography doesn't do them justice and I couldn't even get a picture of the grand prize winner because it was behind glass and was rotating so that you could see all sides of it.  

The rain started again as soon as we got in the car to head home but we made it safe and sound and just in time for dinner.  I made a really delicious chicken pot pie soup and then we all settled in to watch Heat.  It was a three hour movie so I made popcorn too. It was a good movie and definitely didn't feel like it lasted three hours.

Cathy and Eric headed back to Washington on Wednesday morning and Dan headed to the doctor.  He had been complaining of knee pain since he got back from his trip and his leg was swelling from the knee down whenever it wasn't elevated.  The doctor wanted him to get a scan of the leg so that was scheduled for the next day.

Thankfully the scan did not show a blood clot (which is what the doctor was worried it might be) but instead showed a Baker's cyst.  So he has been icing it, elevating it, and using a compression sleeve on it to help with the swelling and the pain.  And his back started hurting to.  This man is falling apart. 

On New Year's Eve, we had our traditional dinner at Tokyo with Jennifer and her family and then came back home where we watched football and Dick Clark's Rocking New Year's Eve.  After the ball dropped, Sarah and I immediately went up to bed but Dan and Peter stayed up until who knows when but we did get a Midnight selfie.

New Year's Day was  a lazy day.  We went to McKay's which is a huge store that sells used book, records, games, etc.  We poked around in there for a while then went downtown and got coffee at Bitty and Beau's. Bitty and Beau's is a small chain that employees people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Dan and I have been to the location in Charleston but had yet to visit the location in Winston even though it's been open for a year.  

Then I helped Dan pack for yet another trip to Ireland and we watched both more football.  And on Tuesday morning Dan headed to the airport and will (hopefully) be home on the 12th but he warned me he might have to stay longer.

The kids have had haircuts and dentist appointments this week  and I went back to work on Wednesday.   It was nice having everyone together - even it was only for a week.  I will always be grateful for the time we spend together and will never take it for granted. 

We took this family selfie right before Dan headed to the airport:

Aren't we cute? :)